Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Converting Time Notation to Decimal Notation.

Converting Time Notation to Decimal Notation

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 29, 2016)

Excel internally stores date and time values as floating-point numbers. The portion of the number to the left of the decimal point represents days elapsed since either January 1, 1900 or 1904 (depending on how your copy of Excel is configured). The portion of the number to the right of the decimal point represents the portion of a full day represented by the date and time.

Knowing this, you can easily convert a number from its time notation to its decimal equivalent. For instance, if you have an elapsed time value that represents 8:30, you can easily convert it to 8.5 (eight and a half hours) by multiplying the time value by 24.

To give another example, let's say that you have a beginning time in cell A3 and an ending time in cell B3. In cell C3 you place the following formula:

=B3 - A3

The result in cell C3 is the elapsed time, which is the difference between the beginning and ending times. In cell D3 you could then place the following formula:

= C3 * 24

The result in D3 is a decimal representation of the number of hours in cell C3. You can format the cell as you would any other number value so that it displays the number of decimal places desired. If you prefer to limit the number of decimal places in the result, right off the bat, you could instead use the following formula in cell D3:

=ROUNDUP(C3 * 24, 1)

This formula multiples C3 by 24 to convert to a decimal value, but then rounds the result to a single decimal place.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2052) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Converting Time Notation to Decimal Notation.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding Unused Styles

Use this VBA macro to determine which styles are being used in the current Word document.

Discover More

Changing Font Face and Size Conditionally

Conditional formatting does not allow you to change the typeface and font size used in a cell. You can write your own ...

Discover More

Setting Up Custom AutoFiltering

The filtering capabilities of Excel are very helpful when you are working with large sets of data. You can create a ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Adjusting Times for Time Zones

Collect a series of times in a worksheet, and you might need to adjust those times for various time zones. This involves ...

Discover More

Calculating Elapsed Time with Excluded Periods

When using Excel to calculate elapsed time, there can be all sorts of criteria that affect the formulas you would ...

Discover More

Converting Numeric Values to Times

If you have a bunch of times entered into cells without the colon between the hours and minutes, chances are good that ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one less than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.